A lie can change the world: packaging and sustainability

-Would you like to come in? – he said. I had a hard time getting to sit on the high wooden stool. We couldn’t both fit in that place. My mom was taking longer than usual. There was no one near the school or the kiosk where she was always waiting for me.

The man who was attending the kiosk left me alone for a moment. Surrounded by temptations I took a candy from the shelf and stared at it. I looked up, nobody could see me.

Everyone has moments in life where they have to make choices. We do it all the time, more than we think because many choices are automatic.

We have to automate good choices.

Sustainability is being the marketing shield of many companies. Some really care and others are just looking to seduce consumers.

While for some that concern is a lie, I’m glad it can help make a difference in the world.

The eco-nomy

Environmentalism is not new, it peaked in popularity in the 1960’s, but never before has there been as much talk about caring for the environment as there is now.

Many first-world countries have made much progress on recycling and the circular economy, which uses waste as a source of energy or raw materials for reuse.

The Scottish Engineer Toby McCartney won’t be Paul’s cousin, but he’s got a venture called MacRebur to reuse plastic as asphalt.

In developing countries it seems difficult to worry about environmental issues when many basic needs are not yet satisfied.

I wonder if those needs would not be met if recycling were a source of work or if it would be possible to avoid throwing away so much food that is not consumed because it has been expired.

The inner monster

The oceans are polluted, the dumps are increasingly full, but plastics are not just the one to blame, we all did it. We just let it happen.

Plastic is necessary and is present from medicine to aviation. It made the packaging of products and food that we consume every day more accessible.

We don’t have to put an end to plastic, but to the “use and throw away” culture. Plastic containers can be durable to reuse and then returned to produce new ones.

In the meantime we have so much plastic scattered all over the place and we have to do something about it.

Head & Shoulders developed a bottle made from 20% collected plastic from Latin American beaches. Yes, I know, it’s not too much, but it’s worse not to do anything because it doesn’t seem like much compared to what needs to be done, doesn’t it?


Everyone does their part

Amazon requires its clients to optimize the space and weight of the products they sell in order to save energy in shipments. Well done, keep it that way!

It seems that the world’s largest online retailer can put more pressure on companies than governments themselves. Clearly because it’s about business, but if business benefits the environment, you’re welcome.

Tide has developed a new dispenser with a larger capacity than its rigid plastic container which significantly reduces the use of materials. A faucet with a built-in cup helps avoid waste.

Inside it features a plastic bag containing the liquid and that is not that “sustainable”. But neither the cardboard, the plastic nor the bag are more sustainable on their own. We have to do something as responsible consumers.

Sorting waste, separating organic waste from inorganic waste, washing and drying containers after use are some of the good actions we need to automate.


From complaint to action

We can demand greater environmental care from a company, that its products are more ecological, recyclable or biodegradable, but if we don’t do our part, these efforts are halfway there.

Let’s not complain about what others don’t do if we sit around watching Netflix.

For ecology to really work, it needs society to have the conviction, companies to consider it good business and governments acknowledge it as a policy, even if it is just to win votes.

Sustainability lies in all of us and it is our responsibility to do something in the circumstances in which we live, demanding that the rest take care of theirs and while we do what is within our reach.

In life we have to make decisions, like that time at the kiosk where my mom didn’t come looking for me, I was alone, nobody was seeing me and I finally left the candy in the shelf.

Let’s live the present as the future we dream of.